How to successfully manage a team working from home

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, most companies have now adopted working from home practices. That said, there’s no doubt that this has brought a number of challenges to managers, business owners and employees alike….

Managing People Working From Home

Remote working can be stressful, overwhelming and lonely for employees, and can cause management issues for bosses and owners.

There are a number of things managers and business owners can do, however, to help ensure they’re managing their remote team effectively and positively.

Regular communication

The reduced contact managers and business owners have with their staff can mean that they’re disconnected with their workforce. Arranging regular catch up sessions and day-to-day social interaction can help promote engagement and help employers keep their multiple channels of communication open.

Support workforce wellness

It’s never been more important to ensure that your employees are healthy, especially when you consider that, over lockdown, many employees have been working longer hours than when they were in the office.

This can obviously lead to staff becoming unwell, mentally and physically. Showing that you support employees’ wellness can help reduce sick days, and encourage productivity, creativity and enthusiasm. Employers can support workforce wellness by promoting healthy routines such as a company-wide ‘shut down time’, or introducing apps which remind staff to drink water and take a break. They can also offer wellbeing support for employees suffering from mental health issues, anything from free language classes to home workout kits, or support sessions.

Ensure employees have a healthy workspace

It’s important to recognise that not everyone will have access to a dedicated workspace or home office, and there are costs involved with having to work from home. Employees are, perhaps unfairly, often expected to already have fast internet connections, ergonomic furniture, access to electricity, a laptop or other type of computer and sometimes a phone landline. There’s no getting away from the fact that almost all of these are critical when it comes to home working…

It’s extremely important that managers and business owners encourage staff to separate their work life and home life wherever possible. Having a desk area with a supportive chair is much healthier than employees working from their sofas.

Not only can you review their work from home setup and offer advice or help to improve the situation, if you need to offer support to employees, you could consider negotiating a discount from office retailers so staff can kit out their space effectively.

Stick to a routine

Without clearly defined office hours, it can become incredibly easy for staff to work far too many hours, almost never ‘switching off’. It’s really important, therefore, for managers to encourage staff to maintain a routine and separate their home life and work life.

Whilst sticking to a normal day of 9-5 may prove tricky for some staff who have to factor in childcare, home schooling or family responsibilities, planning out a routine and sticking to it will really help to structure the working day.

Scheduling in catch-ups and one-to-one meetings is also important, in part because many people can no longer simply just pop into the office for a chat. It’s good for managers set out time to talk to employees about performance and any concerns or issues they may have.

Be flexible

Given that many employees will have to adopt a range of new responsibilities over this unprecedented time, it’s pretty vital that managers offer sufficient flexibility to their staff. When push comes to shove, working hours and patterns can be amended if needs be just as long as the needs of the company are still being met.

Organise social activities

Alongside work meetings and one-to-ones, it’s also healthy to organise staff social calls and activities. Working remotely can be lonely at times so it’s important to encourage employees to communicate regularly, both professionally and socially. Whilst only one suggestion, you could consider setting up a game or a quiz on a Friday afternoon to help everyone wind down for the weekend.

Invest in technology

In the current climate, technology can be key to helping keep some businesses afloat. Communication tools such as video call software, instant messaging and collaboration platforms enable remote teams to work together in effective and productive ways. Make use of platforms such as MS Teams, IMs, Salesforce, Miro and more, and ensure your team stays in touch.

Working from home can also lead to employees’ hard work going unnoticed. And that can prove to be pretty disheartening… But never fear! It’s pretty easy for managers and business owners to invest in technology that allows staff to send and receive recognition for their work. Or simply to develop policies/processes that reward employees and recognise their contributions.

Carefully plan a return to workplace proposal

As the prospect of lockdowns starting to ease rears its head, many businesses have started to look at return to work proposals for office staff. However, if thinking of asking your workforce to return to the office, you should first consult with each individual first so they can raise any personal issues. It’s a business owner’s duty to carry out a COVID risk assessment and ensure that the workplace is safe for employees. Many people may be nervous about leaving their house again, so it’s vital that you make sure that they’re happy with any new procedures.

At E2E Technologies we can help keep your employees connected and working productively. Get in touch with our team today to find out what we can offer.